Netflix Cheer star and former Joe Biden presidential campaign surrogate Jerry Harris is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly soliciting sexually explicit images and sex from minors, according to a report.
USA Today stated Monday:
The criminal investigation is based on allegations that were reported separately to police by Varsity Brands, a private company that dominates the cheerleading industry and handles everything from uniform sales to major competitions. In Aug. 1 letters to police in Florida and Texas, Varsity’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, said the company learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris and reported the information to authorities as required by law.
Brillhart included two screenshots in his communication with law enforcement. In one – a Snapchat message – a picture of the upper part of what appears to be Harris’ face is labeled with the message, “Would you ever want to ****”. The other screenshot – which is a series of text messages – indicates an exchange that began on Friday, May 3, 2019, when an individual named “jerry harris” wrote, “Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good haha.”
Law enforcement reportedly searched a Naperville, Illinois, residence in connection to the probe. The 21-year-old Harris has not been criminally charged and has not issued a statement. “The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area,” an FBI special agent told USA Today in a statement.
Cheer is a documentary series that chronicles Navarro College cheerleaders’ plight to win a U.S. national championship and has scored six Emmy nominations since its release in January. In June, Harris made a cameo featuring now-Democrat presidential nominee Biden in a video in which he asked viewers to vote for Biden.
Last month, TIME magazine reported on how the Biden team recruited Harris and other Hollywood figures:
Biden’s digital team knows the former VP’s online following doesn’t begin to compete with Trump’s. So its strategy has revolved partly around leveraging the popularity of others. “Where are people already talking about this? Where are the people who are already fired up about this?” says Biden senior adviser Caitlin Mitchell, 34, who is leading much of the digital strategy. Biden’s team has organized Instagram Live sessions with influencers including TV personality Keke Palmer and Jerry Harris from the Netflix series Cheer. (The idea of working with Harris earned the support of Biden’s college-age granddaughter Finnegan, who has the candidate’s ear on digital matters.)
The development comes in the wake of Netflix facing immense backlash over its tween-twerking movie Cuties.
Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) led Republicans in urging the Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation into Netflix, with the Arkansas lawmaker accusing the streaming giant of “peddling child pornography.”
“Like any parent, I find [Netflix’s] decision to peddle child pornography disgusting. And it’s criminal,” Cotton tweeted Saturday. “[The Justice Department] should take swift action.”
The Daily Caller was first to report Cotton’s letter to the Justice Department.
Netflix’s board of directors member Susan Rice, former national security adviser to President Barack Obama, has remained silent on the ongoing controversy.